With the Vikings signing Latavius Murray and closing the door on Adrian Peterson, it remains to be seen where Peterson will play in 2017.
Interest has been tepid, with only the Seahawks bringing him in for a visit. The slow market likely arises from financial expectations based on what Peterson has been paid in recent years. Until Peterson realizes that he’ll be making far, far less than he ever has, he won’t be inclined to sign a contract with the frame of mind necessary to embrace, and not resent, his next employer.
That’s possibly why other teams in which he has expressed interest — the Raiders, Buccaneers, Giants, Texans, and Patriots — have done nothing to reciprocate. If Peterson wants to be paid $10 million or more in 2017, he’s simply not going to to be paid anything.
The broader question is whether Peterson’s assessment of his value will drop far enough to result in a deal before offseason programs open, or before they close. Peterson as recently as last year complained about the grind of OTAs; he can easily avoid it by choosing to remain a free agent through June.
Then the question becomes whether he will simply wait for an inevitable injury. If, for example, a high-profile tailback playing for a team in Texas with a blue logo on a silver helmet should suffer some sort of serious condition in training camp, the preseason, or the early days of the regular season, Peterson instantly would have a landing spot in a perfect location. If no starter for a contender becomes injured into December, Peterson would then have to ask himself whether he wants to take whatever he can get for a chance to play deep into January. Even if his role is a fraction of what it once was.
Finally, let’s not discount spite. With the Vikings publicly declaring that Peterson is done, would Peterson accept a low-salary, high-incentive deal from the Packers, simply for the privilege of sticking it to the team that decided after a decade that it no longer believes in him? If Peterson has no other options, why not vent some frustration from the team that didn’t see fit to keep paying Peterson to do what he had done for the past decade.